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This recipe takes a little extra time compared to my other recipes, but it is definitely worth it. If you are in a hurry, feel free to purchase the bread bowls or skip them and just serve the chowder alongside some bread or breadsticks.

Yield: Serves 9

Prep time: 1 hr. + 7 hrs. in slow cooker

Last minute prep + cook time: 35 minutes

Recipe notes:

  • Want to kick up the clam taste? You can add 2 T clam base or replace half the broth with clam juice.
  • If you are in a hurry, you can skip sautéing the onions and potatoes in the bacon grease.


Prep bin:

  • 26 oz. canned clams
  • 1 lg. yellow onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 8 yellow potatoes
  • 4 cups chicken broth


  • 1 lb. bacon

Sourdough Bread bowls:

  • 450 g sourdough starter
  • 1275 g bread flour (all-purpose is fine)
  • 30 g salt

Pull out same day:

  • 2 stalks celery (1 cup frozen diced)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. dried thyme
  • 2 cups cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 tsp. cornstarch

Bread bowl prep 24 hrs. prior

  1. If making bread bowls they need to be started 24 hours prior to baking. I recommend starting the morning prior to the day you plan to serve them.
  2. To a large bowl add the starter and 1275 g warm water. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Add the flour. Mix together first with a dough hook or wooden spoon. Then, knead by hand 5-7 minutes.
  4. Cover with a wet towel or plastic wrap and let sit 30 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle the salt over the dough. Mix in with a series of “stretch and folds” for about 4 minutes. Recover and let rest 30 minutes.
  6. Do 10 rounds of stretch and folds with the dough still in the bowl. Recover and let rest 30 minutes.
  7. Repeat the above process 3 more times. The last two times, finish by picking up the dough ball and forming it into a tight ball, tightening the top and pinching it together at the bottom. Place back in the bowl. Cover and let rest 30 minutes as usual.
  8. Repeat the process one more time (lifting and forming into a ball as well). This time, let the dough sit, covered, until doubled.
  9. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or an airtight lid and refrigerate overnight.

Same-Day Prep Directions

  1. Remove the dough from the fridge and dump onto a lightly floured surface.
  2. Break into 9 equal parts. Cover with a towel and let rest 60 minutes.
  3. While the dough is resting, prepare the clam chowder
  4. Cook bacon in a skillet until done. Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels to drain.
  5. Peel and chop onion. Peel and mince the garlic. Add both to skillet and saute until softened.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to remove onions and garlic and transfer to slow cooker.
  7. Peel and chop the potatoes. Add to the skillet and saute for a few minutes. Use a slotted spoon to transfer to slow cooker.
  8. Crumble the bacon.
  9. Add the clams, celery, salt, pepper, thyme, broth, and the bacon. Cook on “low” for 7 hours.
  10. Grease 9 bowls (soup bowls work great) with olive oil.
  11. Shape dough into balls and place one in each bowl. Cover with towels or lightly with plastic wrap (it needs to rise) and let rise 30-45 minutes.
  12. Preheat oven to 450 F. Fill a dark pan with water and place on the bottom oven rack to create steam.
  13. Carefully transfer the boules from the bowls to two parchment paper-lined baking sheets (phew – say that three time fast!). Score an x in the top of each.
  14. Bake the bread bowls for 30-40 minutes, or until golden brown.
  15. Let cool completely.
  16. Wrap each one tightly in plastic wrap or place them in a sealed container until ready to use.


  1. To a small bowl add cream, milk, and cornstarch. Whisk well. Add to slow cooker and stir to combine. Turn to “high” setting and let cook 30 minutes more.
  2. Prep bread bowls by popping in a 350 F oven for a few minutes to warm. Cut out a hole and remove inside piece of bread.
  3. Serve chowder in bread bowls with bread pieces on the side.

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